Take your propositions to the wall.
FEBRUARY 8, 2021
Take your propositions to the wall. I’ll explain on Key Life.
Key Life exists to communicate that the deepest message of Jesus and the Bible is the radical grace of God to sinners and suffers, because life’s hard for everyone, grace is for all of us. Our host is seminary professor and author, Steve Brown.
Thank you Matthew. Hope you guys had a great weekend and I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you’re just joining us, we have been for a long time taking our time as I became the tour director of the book of Galatians. And I’ll always in the past, uh, when I was a pastor in teaching books of the Bible, I had to move on. Because I didn’t have all the time in the world, but this is my broadcast and I can do what I want. So, I’m just taking my time and it’s taking a good deal of time to get through Galatians. And if it hasn’t been a benefit to you, it has been to me. So, be a Christian and be glad that I’m growing and this study, even if you’re not. We’re looking, and we’re starting a new text this week and we’re looking at Galatians, the fourth chapter starting at the 21st verse. And this is what Paul writes.
Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one bias slave and one by a free woman. But the son of a slave was born according to the flesh, the son of the free woman through promise. Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and she corresponds to present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.
And by the way, we’re going to explain this as we go along, it is a bit obtuse, and then he goes on.
For it is written, “Rejoice, O barren one that does not bear; break forth and shout, thou who are not in travail for the desolate have more children than she who hath a husband.” Now we, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. But as at the time he was born, according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now. But what does the scripture say? “Cast out the slave and her son, for the son of the slave shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but we are the children of the free mother.
Now, that’s an incredible text. But it does feel kind of obtuse, because it has rabbinic overtones to it. And any Jew who read that text would know exactly what Paul was talking about, when he was using the allegory. And later on, we’re going to take some time to get into that, so we can get to the truths that Paul teaches about slavery and being in prison and how to get out. But first I want to go down one or two side roads, and before we do that, it’s Monday. Let’s pray. Father, we’re thankful for your word. We’re thankful that you’ve called us to study it until we get it. And we get it to allow it to speak to our minds that we would not be superficial Christians and then drop it to our hearts, that we might not be cold and mean spirited and condemning Christians and then put it in our mouths and in our hands and our feet that the world might hear the laughter of the redeemed. You know, everybody who’s listening to this broadcast, Father some are going through really hard times and others aren’t and you’re the God of both. Remind us that you’re sufficient for every need and you join us in our laughter. And then Father as always, we pray for the one who teaches, that you would forgive him his sins, because they are many. We would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus name. Amen. Now, let me show you something important about the words that I just read to you. Note, if you will, the fact that Paul requires his hearers to take their presupposition to the logical wall. It’s Galatians 4:21.
Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law?
In other words, think, for heaven’s sake, think of the implications, if you take where you’re going, all the way to the logical wall. Immanuel Kant had some principles on deciding ethical principles. And one of them was take what you think and universalize it and think what would happen if it were universalized. What does that mean? Well, it means take what you think is okay, and ask yourself if everybody did what I’m doing, would it still be okay? And if it isn’t, it’s not ethical. Well, Paul was saying something similar here. He’s saying, take it to the wall. You know, one of the great mistakes people make is a refusal to take self-evident trues to their logical conclusion. They take truths that are shallow truths, and don’t think of the implications of those truths and they take real revealed truth, and don’t understand the implications of that either. A friend of mine, who shares my love for C.S. Lewis gave me a number of books and bulletins about C.S. Lewis. And, one of the things in one of them that I was just recently reading is a piece on equality. C.S. Lewis says that he believes in democracy, but that he believes it for a different reason than the reason most people believe in it. The cliches you know, our trust the people, you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. Yeah, you can. Lewis says that he doesn’t believe in democracy, for the same reason Rousseau believed in it, because man is good. This is what Lewis says.
The danger of defending democracy on the grounds of man’s goodness is that those grounds are not true. The real reason for democracy, is just the reverse. Mankind is so fallen, that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows. Aristotle said that some people were fit only to be slaves. I do not contradict him, but I reject slavery, because I see that no one is fit to be a master.
Is that good, or what? What is Lewis saying? Lewis is saying, think, take the truths you think you believe in to the wall and see what happens. He’s a man who takes his presuppositions to the wall. In education, for instance, people had for years, been saying that we must free up children so that they can do what is natural and they can learn. No, they don’t. My kids were a part of an experimental school, near Boston where we live for a long time. They, do you know what they did? They, they broke down all the walls, because they said walls hinder children. And they didn’t have anything that children had to do, because they said children are wonderful and they want to leave, to learn and to grow. And we’ll just enable them to be that. Do you know what happened to that school? Well, I don’t know. I’ve been back on a long time. But before I left, they closed the school and they boarded up the windows, because it didn’t work. It didn’t work because the presuppositions were wrong and when they took them to the wall, they ended up with a disaster. You remember, in South Pacific, when the Lieutenant was in love with a Polynesian girl and he sings this wonderful song, you’ve got to be taught to hate. No, you don’t, it’s natural. I mean, if you just let it go, people will hate naturally, something has to happen that’s different. And so it’s taking the presuppositions to the wall. It’s listening to what Kant said. I read a lot of shallow, dumb things, a lot of the time. And one of the most shallow and dumb things I ever heard is coming from a humanist. Let me give you a quote from one of them, this is a major American newspaper.
Affirming the need for moral standards that are based on logic and empirical experience, the declaration opposes absolutely morality.
Are you crazy? If there’s no absolute morality, there is no morality. And we end up in a very dark place where we are, write down what Paul said. Remember what you’re saying. Think of the implications. And take it to the wall. You think about that. Amen.
Thanks Steve. That was Steve Brown, continuing our guided tour of Galatians. Today, we got a wide view of Galatians 4:21 through 31. And we will be drilling into that text throughout this week. Make sure you join us. Well, here’s a fun fact, even in some 2021 models, a few car manufacturers are still including CD players. Why does that matter? Well, if you have a car CD player in your car, you can enjoy being a part of the Key Life CD Family, when you’re on the go. Well, of course the Key life CD Family is the group of folks who receive two free CDs from Steve each and every year, as funds permit. These CDs are from talks at various events where Steve speaks throughout the year. And usually this is audio that has not even been heard anywhere else previously. So why not get in on this deal by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also drop an email to Steve@keylife.org and ask for the CDs. By mail, send your request to
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